Beautiful people give Lismore heart

When he was looking for the single attribute that makes Lismore stand out from other places city centre manager Stephen Nelson kept coming back to the same thing: the people.

On Monday Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell launched a new city centre brand “Lismore – come to the heart”.

Jenny called out some names of cities and asked the audience at the Lismore City Bowling Club to name something that defines them.

“Paris, the Eiffel Tower; New York has Times Square; San Francisco the Golden Gate Bridge; Sydney the Harbour Bridge or the Opera House; Orange has fine food and wine; Tamworth the country music festival – every city has something that defines it,” Jenny said. “I just spent the weekend four hours north of Brisbane in a sprawling metropolis with no heart, no centre.

“Lismore has a natural beauty with the gardens, fabulous trees. Coming back from Queensland it was so good to see the green.

“When I think Lismore I think the river – and, yes, floods – the architecture of buildings like this bowling club, the museum, the roses in front of the Queen Victoria fountain, the Baths and the war memorials – so many things define what Lismore is.

“As well as the retail centre, which is unique with an actual centre.

“Lismore has lots of things going for it including that beautiful, green sports space that links the town centre with the Shopping Square.

“And, of course, the colourful people. We accept diversity, accept difference – we’re a very embracive place.

“My husband Ron and I moved here 18 years ago and it’s absolutely where my heart is.”

Stephen Nelson devised the city centre branding, in close collaboration with a creative team that included photographer Trevor Warden, graphic designer Greg Meek and local production house ‘Nuture Films’, a subsidiary of the North Coast Ad Agency.

The launch was sponsored by NSW Industry and Investment, the funding agency for the ‘Lismore Alive’ project that identified the strengths and weaknesses of the CBD and produced recommendations that form the basis of the 2009/10 Lismore Promotion Program Business Plan.

“It’s a simple message but that’s what works best and the campaign will show the creative life of the people who live here as well as having that commercial feel,” he said. “What’s most important is to get the message out there for people to come to the heart.

“People generally thought that Lismore was exceptionally friendly.”

The campaign consists of photos of local people in easily recognisable places around town.

“I asked real local people to be in the shots – people who love Lismore and live here. I didn’t want Ken and Barbie type images; I wanted something far more true and that’s what we’ve got.”

Third generation fruiter Alex Coronakes, who owns Tropicana Fruit in Keen St, features in one of the photos.

“Lismore is different to other regional towns of the same size because we do have an actual heart and a huge amount of cultural activities,” Stephen said. “We have the finest arts happening outside of cities and the highest proportion of people earning their living from the creative industries and these images reflect that.”

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